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Direct Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural via Catalytic Conversion of Simple and Complex Sugars over Phosphated TiO2.

ChemSusChem (2015-08-05)
Luqman Atanda, Abhijit Shrotri, Swathi Mukundan, Qing Ma, Muxina Konarova, Jorge Beltramini
ABSTRACT

A water-THF biphasic system containing N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) was found to enable the efficient synthesis of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) from a variety of sugars (simple to complex) using phosphated TiO2 as a catalyst. Fructose and glucose were selectively converted to HMF resulting in 98 % and 90 % yield, respectively, at 175 °C. Cellobiose and sucrose also gave rise to high HMF yields of 94 % and 98 %, respectively, at 180 °C. Other sugar variants such as starch (potato and rice) and cellulose were also investigated. The yields of HMF from starch (80-85 %) were high, whereas cellulose resulted in a modest yield of 33 %. Direct transformation of cellulose to HMF in significant yield (86 %) was assisted by mechanocatalytic depolymerization-ball milling of acid-impregnated cellulose. This effectively reduced cellulose crystallinity and particle size, forming soluble cello-oligomers; this is responsible for the enhanced substrate-catalytic sites contact and subsequent rate of HMF formation. During catalyst recyclability, P-TiO2 was observed to be reusable for four cycles without any loss in activity. We also investigated the conversion of the cello-oligomers to HMF in a continuous flow reactor. Good HMF yield (53 %) was achieved using a water-methyl isobutyl ketone+NMP biphasic system.

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